VoIP Phone SystemWhy would the owner of an IT company write an article telling you only to buy a VoIP phone system from an IT company?

The motivation behind writing this article is NOT to help me sell more VoIP phone systems.  Recently, we had a single week where 3 client’s networks were negatively impacted by the repercussions of VOIP providers making changes or installing new phone systems.

My team has been called in many times to correct issues caused by a VoIP phone company after they tried to install a VoIP phone system which they sold to our client. These problems were caused by inexperienced phone technicians trying to make their VOIP phone system work.  In this article, I’ll share one VoIP installation nightmare with you and also detail the exact reasons why it’s in your best interests to only buy a VoIP phone system from an IT company with extensive networking experience.

What is a VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol which is a relatively new networking technology used for voice communications. Each VoIP phone is a network device that operates within your computer network alongside all of your other network devices including your firewall, switches, server and computers. Phones and networking technology have converged and the knowledge required to install and support VoIP phone systems is now about 85% networking and 15% phones.

Almost every phone system made and sold today is a VoIP phone system and the traditional phone system companies have been thrust into the world of networking and VoIP.  Traditional phone system companies were experts in installing legacy phone systems, which were isolated systems with their own separate wiring.  However, today’s VOIP systems require complicated network configurations which must co-exist with the client’s computer network.  Given their lack of network and IT skills traditional phone system companies are now in well over their heads trying to integrate their VOIP phones with your computer network.

A VoIP Installation Nightmare

The first sign of trouble for one of my clients was when they called us saying that their VPN’s weren’t working. When we researched the problem, we discovered that we couldn’t communicate with the firewall on their network.  When we asked the client to power cycle their firewall they discovered that there was a different firewall in place.  About an hour earlier, the client had a new VoIP phone system installed by a VoIP phone company who switched out my client’s firewall with a lower quality non-security firewall without telling anyone.  It should be noted that before installing the VoIP phone system, this VoIP company told my client that they wouldn’t change anything with the network.

So, the installation technician either was ignorant of the ramifications of removing their firewall or grossly negligent for removing my client’s firewall to suit his phone system’s needs without the client’s permission.  Either way, removing the clients firewall without permission was astonishingly brazen and dangerous to our client as it removed all of the security which was provided by their newly removed firewall.  And, all of the other functionality of the firewall, such as the VPN, were also lost.  This was a major disruption to our client’s business just because the phone system vendor wanted to install a firewall that they could make work with their phone system.

Here’s the three reasons to choose an IT company over a VoIP phone company to recommend, install and support your new VoIP phone system.

  • VoIP phone systems require specific network configurations
    1. One of the biggest reasons for VoIP failure, poor sound quality and dropped calls is that the VoIP phone system is not configured properly to take into account your company’s firewall, routers, network traffic or internet speed. Managing the traffic for VoIP phones can also require creating a VLAN which is a more advanced networking concept. Phone vendors simply don’t understand many details like this because there’s no requirement that they know advanced networking skills. They’ve always sold phones and they still sell phones, but now the VoIP phones are completely different.
  • Improper installation causes VoIP and network issues
    1. When it comes to installing a VoIP phone system a VoIP phone company will install with the singular goal of making their phones work. They will ignore the client’s more advanced networking settings and install their phone system the way that they think is best. On the other hand, when an IT company installs a VoIP phone system, they know the intricacies of the network and install and configure the VoIP phones within the network to have ALL the network devices work, not just the phones. The worst offense by a VoIP phone company is after they install the VoIP phones and discover that they don’t work as promised in the business’s specific network environment, they blame the problems on the client’s network. Ironically, the issues are generally caused because the VOIP phone company doesn’t understand networking.  This generally leads them to contact the actual VOIP provider who will then work with the client’s IT Company to actually configure the network properly.  The introduction of this third vendor is the “Bermuda Triangle Of VoIP Phone Support.”
  • Maintain the integrity and security of your network
    1. Installing and supporting a computer network today is very complicated compared to 10-15 years ago. Your computer network is the backbone of your business and having a properly functioning network not only keeps your team and business productive but it also protects your company’s data and client information from cyberattacks and other malicious cyberthreats. Your firewall, switches, VPN’s, server and computers are all configured in a very specific way and advanced networking knowledge is required to correctly add a new network device such as a VoIP phone. Additionally, the security risks introduced by incorrect network settings could be disastrous.

If you are considering replacing your phone system with a new VOIP system be sure that the VOIP phone company you choose will at the very least work closely with your IT provider.  Ideally, you will purchase your VOIP phone system from your IT Provider so that everything will work together seamlessly and your network will not be exposed to an unnecessary security risk.  And, no matter who you use for your IT, we would be happy to provide you with a new VOIP Phone system proposal that will integrate effectively with your network.

Call us today at (314) 432-1661 (MO) or (618) 346-8324 (IL) to get more information about how a VoIP phone system can help your business today!